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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You Can't Get There From Here
or Dear Long Island Expressway: What the ef is your problem? why you be hatin' on us?

Okay, so we have friends, Kirby and Carla who live a mere 3 1/2- 4 hours north of us. They're a great couple with two terrific kids. We've been trying to arrange a time to meet up for a visit all summer, but to no avail. By sheer coincidence, (there's that wonderful phenom again) they were in NYC the same time as we were.

They always stay at the famed Chelsea Hotel, a stone's throw from our favorite old haunt, Moonstruck's diner. The same waiter's been working the tables ever since we started coming here 25 years ago. We were regulars then and he still recognizes us.
stairway on third floor

We had a fantastic time noshing and catching up. Afterwards we all went to the hotel to check out the famed artwork in the hallways and to hang out on their balcony.
one of the photos lining he hallways

The rooms have been recently remodeled and are pretty large for a New York hotel. It's so cool there. You can feel the creative energy of past residence, Dylan Thomas, Larry Rivers, Sid Vicious. Okay, so you don't really want to feel Sid's destructive energy, but you get the idea. It's really cool.
the lovely lily, kirby, atticus, carla, me, geo
on the balcony at the Chelsea

And the street-side balcony is a special treat. So much entertaining activity going on in that block. Next time we find ourselves looking for a place to stay in Chelsea, we're booking there.
telling tales at the Talkhouse

So we hit the road to head across town via Delancy about 2:30pm. Rhett's show was in Amagansett at Stephen's Talkhouse which is way on the entire opposite f*cking end of the aptly named Long Island. His start time was 7pm, but according to Felicity, our GPS, it would only take 2 1/2-3 hours to get there. We figured we could drop our stuff off at the hotel in Bohemia and have more than enough time to make the 1:20 drive to the Talkhouse and grab something to eat before the show.

WRONG, round eye.

We literally crawled down Delancy Street. The Williamsburg bridge, a mirage mocking us in the distance. But, hey, it was a beautiful day in New York City. We're on vacation. No worries. We've got lots of time to get to Amagansett. Besides, once we get on the Long Island Expressway we should sail along, right?

Wrong again, white girl!

We actually did sail along ... for about 20 minutes, then.


We dropped down to 5mph. Five. Miles. Per HOUR!?! WTF?!? I think I got whiplash from the split-second deceleration. Four lanes and the HOV lane crawling at an almost imperceptible pace ... for no reason. No Accidents. No construction obstructions. No UFOs. No Sasquatch sightings. No shit. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Just miles and miles of cars rolling along at a f*cking snail's pace.

And the long line of cars keeps growing and growing. Is every single person in Manhattan heading to the Hamptons at exactly the same time as us? Seems like it.

Geo tried his best to maneuver through the mind-numbing, illogical traffic pattern in an effort to gain quicker passage, but to no avail. At one point we leapt up to a flaming 35mph, but alas it was all too brief and soon we were back down to a cruising speed of 20-25. All the while, Felicity's ETA display kept getting later and later, adding to our anxiety. Suddenly the 1:10 drive to the hotel had stretched to two hours plus.

We finally hit a burst of open road and realized we were going to have to high-tail it to the hotel, literally dump and run back on the highway and bust ass to make it to the Talkhouse in time for the show. No dinner for us. To be honest, at this point a fifth of vodka was the only elixir imaginable to wash away the lingering ludicrous crap of this road trip.

I love the feel of this still

After zooming through the pristine country side (which we barely looked at), we hit the Amagansett city line with 25 minutes to spare.


Stephen's TalkHouse
The travel Gods were smiling on us as we pulled into a primo parking spot right across from the front door of the venue. I was surprised there was only one other couple waiting around for the door to open being as it was so close to show time. The doors finally opened and we plopped our road-weary butts in two folding chairs, stage left (our stomachs growling) and ordered up a couple of cold ones.

Okay, so Geo doesn't get why I go on Twitter. He teases me about it and sometimes gets downright annoyed with me, but the truth is I've found value in it. I've gotten free songs, access to unavailable tickets, met some really nice people... While we were entrenched neck deep in traffic earlier, I tweeted:

"It's been a Hellish journey to LI! Won't make it to the @rhettmiller show in time to eat. We need a drink."

Meanwhile, Rhett had tweeted a whole series of delighful little ditties about hanging backstage with the progeny of the Wailer's musicians--mainly how they were making up lyrics to songs, playing video games and just carrying on like 5, 7 and 9 year olds. Once we settled in, we heard the kids laughing, screaming and running up and down the side stairs. I jumped on my archaic phone and tweeted:

"@rhettmiller what the hell are you doing to those kids back there?"

Next thing we know, Rhett sticks his head out the side door, pulls it back then comes crouching towards us saying "I'm glad you made it." and slaps a banana and granola bar on the table.
a study with banana, granola and dork
I'll wait for you so say, "Aaaaaaaaa..."

How sweet is this guy?!?! Seriously. Again. Do you see why I love him?

As we quelled the pains of malnutrition sharing our thoughtfully donated snacks, I explained to my very puzzled husband how that all happened. Between this and Rhett honoring my Twitquest to play Geo's favorite song, Point Shirley, I think he developed a new respect for both Mr. Miller and Twitter. Okay, probably more for the lovely blue-eyed one than Twitter.

Check him out, man! He's totally giving Geo the "hey, dude" eyeball at the end. :-)

The show was as energetic and entertaining as we've come to expect. He never, ever disappoints. He belted out 24 songs and even used his friend Sarah and me as his focal points during his "duet" Fireflies.


I only recorded part of the song, because honestly I felt a little embarrased and unnerved shooting it. Or maybe it was the hot flash caused by the eye contact. Whew Doggie! Ha Ha Ha!!

I have to admit, Fireflies was not one of my favorite songs, but the more we see him perform it, singing both male and female parts, it's definitely grown on me.

One of the things I loveloveLOVE about his solo shows is the banter between songs. It's an opportunity for him to be...well, him. This intimacy is why we prefer seeing bands and solo artists in small venues over ginormously impersonal full-blown production tours. Mr. Miller is never shy about sharing a barb or two like this one about the legend of the naked girl...

Is it true? Who knows. Who cares. It makes for a great story and fun evening. (P.S.: He played Caroline right after this tale. Hmmm... ;D)

Then in honor of the Wailers, we all were treated to a retooling of Come Around in a Reggae beat. Ya, Mon!

Grooviness IS essential...

One quick sour note: You know how when you go somewhere swanky like the Hamptons, you expect to feel like the blue-collar rube next to the classier, wealthier folks who normally inhabit the area? Apparently not so much. Three couples sat at and around our table right before the show started. For the first three songs, the chick behind me would not SHUT THE HELL UP!? She was so loud, I had trouble hearing him sing at times. She was so loud, even Rhett rolled his eyes at her. Her Mama definitely did NOT teach her right. I wanted to turn around and tell her Hello...he's right there!! He can hear you, numb nut. Show a little respect, bee-yatch!

It's a good thing we had a little to eat because otherwise me + low blood sugar + vodka + her megaphone mouth = one potentially ugly ass mess. I guess it's true. Just because you have money doesn't mean you have class.

No matter. Sitting in a darkened club, cocktail in hand, drenched in great music by a sensational songsmith was definitely a perfect end a long, tedious journey.

HOLY CRAP this is epic! Sorry. What's that you say? You'd like to see more videos? Oh well. Okay. Since you insist. Here's one more for the road. Enjoy!

Did you hear that obnoxious chick yakking behind us? Seriously. Shut the F*CK UP!! Check this can see my fantasy hubby semi-roll his eyes at rude girl around 2:32. Geo's laughter is a tip off. Seriously. Some people's parents...

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